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Riverfest fundraiser returns for its 22nd year
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BY ADELE UPHAUS-CONNER
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Even native Virginians might be surprised to learn that we have a state shell: the oyster. It's a nod to the many native varieties of oyster, one of which comes from our own Rappahannock River.
This is one of the many facts Betty Ellett learned while researching her book "ABC's from the Rappahannock River, With Love."
Ellett will be signing copies of her book at the 22nd annual Riverfest, a fundraiser for the river sponsored by the Friends of the Rappahannock, this Saturday at Farley Vale Farm in King George.
"It's been around for a very long time; it's a Fredericksburg tradition," said Rebecca Kurylo, development director for FOR. "It's traditionally been a crab feast celebrating the health of the river, because if it's healthy, there are crabs!"
The all-you-can-eat crab feast and open bar will be held on a bluff overlooking the river, on a historic family farm. There will be silent and live auctions, and live music will provide entertainment for the evening.
For the first time this year, Riverfest has been officially certified as a Virginia Green event by the Department of Environmental Quality. In order to be certified, the event had to meet certain criteria, such as minimizing the amount of printed material, minimizing the use of disposable food products, and reducing overall waste. The invitations and publicity flyers were printed on recycled paper with soy-based ink, and everything will be recycled--even the crab shells, which will be made into fertilizer on a local farm.
"We were already doing a lot of these things, but just hadn't been documenting it," Kurylo said. "We're hoping to inspire other events in the area to do this, as well. If other events looked at the criteria, they'd be surprised at how much they're already doing and how just doing that little bit more could make their event more environmentally friendly."
Crab-picking, beer-drinking and river-gazing sounds like an idle good time, but Riverfest is an important fundraiser for FOR. In the past, Kurylo said, the event has grossed about $150,000--a large part of the group's budget, which it spends in the three main areas of restoration, education and advocacy.
Recently, most of FOR's projects have involved polluted runoff.
What: 22nd annual Riverfest When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 4-8 p.m. Where: Farley Vale Farm, Route 3, King George Tickets: $85, sold in advance only. Purchase by calling Friends of the Rappahannock at 540/373-3448 or visit the office at 3219 Fall Hill Ave., Fredericksburg Info: riverfriends.org